Review of Penny and Her Sled

Penny and Her Sled
by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author
Primary    Greenwillow    56 pp.
10/19    978-0-06-293453-6    $14.99
Library ed.  978-0-06-293454-3    $15.89

In her first easy-reader outing in six years (most recently Penny and Her Marble, rev. 3/13), Penny waits for snow. It’s winter, and the young mouse wants nothing more than to use her new sled. Although her parents reassure her that “it will,” to Penny it seems as if “it would never snow.” (And, in a very Henkes-esque twist, it actually doesn’t.) Wearing mittens to bed and sitting bundled up on her sled in the living room do not bring the snow, and so Penny fills her waiting days with ice-skating and hot-cocoa drinking. Realizing that snow might never arrive, Penny resiliently decides, “I will use my sled for something else,” and her imagination turns the sled into a bridge, a house, a bed, and a magic carpet. As winter comes to an end, Penny’s mother encourages her to watch and wait for spring. Penny’s initial hesitation at this idea is replaced with wonder as her waiting is rewarded with a different type of snow. Through the earnest and oh-so-lovable Penny, Henkes speaks to children’s natural sensibilities and feelings—the tediousness of waiting, the frustrations of unmet expectations, and the startling joy of delayed gratification. Colorful illustrations sing with emotion and movement, extending the simple text and giving further insight into Penny’s wishing, waiting, watching, and welcoming. It’s a gentle story of patience, and at its conclusion readers, like Penny, will be met with unexpected beauty.

From the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine.

Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart is a school librarian at the Percy Priest Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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